Patients impacted with the pain of muscular dysfunction can benefit greatly from the physical therapy specialty of Myofascial Trigger Point Dry Needling, commonly referred to simply as "dry needling". It is especially helpful to those who have back and neck pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscle strains. With this therapy, thin needles are inserted into your muscle tissue at trigger points which induce a twitch response when they are touched. As a patient, you feel a tiny shock sensation which subsides almost instantly. Your muscles may sometimes feel a sore after the treatment. The contact of the needle to the trigger point releases the tension and can result in the immediate improvement of muscle function and pain reduction.
The device used for dry needling is a solid filiform needle similar to the kind used for acupuncture. But there the similarity between the two therapies end. Although the two therapies look similar and use the same basic tools, they are very different. Acupuncture is focused on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a balanced energy flow in the body. Dry needling is focused on the release of muscle tension and is based on the principles of Western medicine.
Scientific studies into the effectiveness of dry needling continue to mount. As the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists puts it: “Research supports that dry needling improves pain control, reduces muscle tension, normalizes biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor end plates, and facilitates an accelerated return to active rehabilitation.”